This was the first KYR Glastonbury course that I have attended and I found it to be a highly successful and enjoyable weekend.
We (the Wigan/Atherton contingent) arrived at Paddington Farm at about 11 pm, all ready for a good nights’ sleep. After a few beers, thoughts of sleep were forgotten and we were suitable revived and ready for a 1 am training session. This was an excellent icebreaker, allowing us to meet others from a range of different clubs. By 3.3Oam it was time to stop rolling around the children’s’ play park and we returned to the important task of drinking until the wee hours (or straight through until breakfast in the case of Shihan Jaimie Lee-Barron and Sensei Terry Hall!).
Waking up took a little effort but the morning began with an informative and re-energising Tai-Chi session lead by Shidoshi Adam Vile. After breakfast training was led by Shihan Jaimie Lee-Barron and continued by Renshi Joao Fernandes. This was a highly enjoyable session and a great opportunity to train with KYR’s Portuguese chief instructor who had travelled to England especially for this event. The morning continued with Shihan George Scarrott teaching his techniques of Aiki Jitsu with his usual dose of humour and practicality. After this Shihan Jo Biggs taught Brown and Black belts whilst Vicki Biggs, 3rd Dan, treated the rest of us to a very good introduction in the use of the Tanto. Both groups clearly learned a lot and enjoyed these sessions.
After lunch and a discussion about the historical and spiritual significance of Glastonbury, we headed en masse up the Tor. This was my first visit to this sacred place and it was easy to see how it has been given religious significance by those who have seen and climbed it throughout the centuries.
On return to the farm, we were taught some basic approaches to ‘striking hands’ by Shidoshi Adam Vile, 5th Dan – a relaxing and educational lesson. Shihan Jo Biggs then lead one of his unique sessions stressing the importance of rhythm) and awareness of others to the sound of some trance music. This session seemed to set the mood for the evening in which rhythm (and at times a serious lack of it) played a large part when combined with a little intoxicating refreshment!
Whilst Shihan Biggs took a group back up the Tor and into Glastonbury, the rest of us were treated to such musical delights as Sensei Carol Scarrott’s rendition of “New York, New York”, accompanied by her own distinctive method of guitar playing. (I’m sure all present will look forward to future renditions of ‘popular classics’ by the afore-mentioned diva!). It was the return of Shihan Biggs and his newly founded ‘coven’ performing strange rituals in the darkness which prompted the composition of the evening’s anthem “You’re a load of weirdo’s,” whilst the ‘coven’ outside performed a ritual in which they used rarely seen parts of their bodies to draw upon the power of the moon!
Suffice to say a good time was had by all and the revelry continued into the early hours.
I feel that the evening pointed to the importance of socialising and enjoying each other’s company as this sense of fun not only carries over into training but it also promotes the sense of community with KYR.
The next morning arrived and without time to fully adjust to a state of ‘being awake’, training began with a kickboxing warm-up from Shihan Lee-Barron who again handed over to Renshi Joao Fernandes to continue the session.
Shihan George Scarrott then displayed his exceptional ability to entertain and amuse whilst teaching his highly effective techniques. Shihan Jo Biggs then drew upon trance and healing energy in the final and extremely positive session of the weekend. This was on excellent wind down and reminder of the sense of unity and hope that had been nurtured during the course.
After the closing ceremony in which certificates were awarded and many deeply felt thank you’s were said, many of us went into Glastonbury for a meal before our final goodbyes.
The weekend was a wonderful experience for everyone to whom I spoke. New friendships were made and older ones were strengthened. I arrived home very tired but with a sense of happiness and a renewed energy with which to train within the KYR.
I know we would all like to express our deepest gratitude to Shihan George Scarrott for organising the event and all the instructors for their superb contributions which gave us all far more than a sequence of techniques to take with us.
The members of the Wigan/Atherton Dojos would also like to thank Sensei Terry Hall for getting us all there and back safely.